Volume 19, No.1 - Spring 1973
Editors of this issue: Antanas Klimas, Thomas Remeikis
Copyright © 1973 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.

Simas Sužiedėlis ed., Encyclopedia Lituanica, Vol. l (A-C). Boston, Mass: Juozas Kapočius, 1970, p. 1-608. $25.00
Simas Sužiedėlis, ed., Encyclopedia Lituanica, Vol. II (D-J). Boston, Mass: Juozas Kapočius, 1972 pp. 1-576. $25.00

Upon completion of the monumental 36 volume Lietuvių Enciklopedija The Lithuanian Encyclopedia Press, under the leadership or Juozas Kapočius, embarked on a new scholarly venture. This venture is the Encyclopedia Lituanica, the first work of its kind to appear in the English language. The Encyclopedia Lituanica will consist of six volumes (about 3,600 pages), containing some 7000 articles written by more than 200 scholars. In general the Encyclopedia Lituanica will be the only complete reference source on Lithuania and its people. The first and the second volume have already been published under the editorial leadership of Prof. Simas Sužiedėlis, a former member of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Kaunas and a noted historian.

The subjects covered in the encyclopedia are: (1) the land, the nation, and the state; (2) major historical and political events; (3) social and economic structure; (4) religious and cultural life; (5) language, literature, and art; (6) science and education; (7) persons and organizations; and (8) Lithuanian communities abroad.

The value of the encyclopedia is increased and the usefulness made much stronger by the inclusion of selected bibliographical citations at the end of most articles. The bibliographical entries are for the most part current and reflect up-to-date sources.

The first volume presents good treatments of areas such as "Administration," for example, which is divided into: (1) Administration of the Grand Principality of Lithuania; (2) Administration under Russian Rule (1795-1915); (3) Administration of Independent Lithuania (1918-1940); and (4) Administration under the Soviet System.

Archaeology is presented in a 24 page article with well selected illustrations for each period/area under considerations. The article has an extensive bibliography which is divided into five sections. This article, as most, is signed by the author, in this case the Lithuanian archeologist Dr. Jonas Puzinas.

The article on the Lithuanian composer and painter M. Čiurlionis is complete and illustrated not only by a picture of the artist but with five of the artist's representative works. This article as well directs the reader to sources for further study. It should be noted that an overwhelming number of bibliographical sources appended to the various articles reflect multi-language bibliography and do not limit themselves to strictly Lithuanian language studies.

The second volume (letters D-J) includes excellent articles on Simonas Daukantas (Simas Sužiedėlis); Mikalojus Daukša (Pranas Skardžius); Kristijonas Donelaitis (Juozas Brazaitis); Education (Antanas Rukša); Ethnology (Antanas Mažiulis); Folk Art (Antanas Tamošaitis); Forest (Jonas Kuprionis); Historiography; Jews in Lithuania (Vincas Rastenis) and many others.

It must be noted that Encyclopedia Lituanica uses the term "Grand Prince" when referring to Lithuanian rulers (other than kings) rather than the term "Grand Duke." The editors offer a lengthy discourse on their reasons for this deviation from normal terminology. This reviewer disagrees with the editors on this point. Since the Lithuanian rulers (other than kings) were in fact members of the nobility ranking just below a King, the term "Grand Duke" should have been used. Historically they were sovereign monarchs who titled themselves Magnus Dux Lituaniae.

As indicated in the first volume most of the articles were initially written in Lithuanian and then translated into English. The translations appear to be excellent and read well. This is due to a large extent to the efforts of Raphael Sealey of the University of California at Berkley, who did most of the corrections and was the English Language Editor. The key to the pronunciation of Lithuanian words was developed by Dr. A. Klimas of the University of Rochester.

This reviewer finds the first two volumes up-to-date, well written, well edited and scholarly. They are excellent and should be part of any reference collection dealing with the Baltic and East European countries. Libraries would benefit from the addition of the Encyclopedia Lituanica to their general reference collections. Students and scholars will find the volumes of extreme value.

J. A. Račkauskas
Chicago State University and Comparative Education Center of the University of Ottawa